Mississippi city settles lawsuit filed by family of man who died after police pulled him from car


JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi’s capital city has settled a wrongful death lawsuit filed by survivors of a man who died after police officers pulled him from a car while searching for a murder suspect.

The Jackson City Council on Tuesday approved payment of $17,786 to settle the lawsuit that relatives of George Robinson filed in state court in October 2019, WLBT-TV reported.

City documents say the settlement is not an admission of liability by the city or the three officers named in the lawsuit. Robinson was Black, as are the three officers.

The payment to the relatives — including Robinson’s sister, Bettersten Wade — was approved on a unanimous vote. But Councilman Kenneth Stokes said he thought the settlement was too small.

“I’m saying it just sends the wrong message about human life, especially Black people’s lives,” Stokes said. “I think a step in the right direction would’ve been to pay the family a little bit more.”

The lawsuit alleged that the three officers “brutally, viciously and mercilessly beat Mr. Robinson by striking and kicking him” in January 2019.

“Mr. Robinson had not committed any crime, was not the subject of any active warrant, and was not a threat to himself or any person in the area,” the lawsuit said.

Robinson, 62, had been hospitalized for a stroke days before the police encounter and was on medication, Wade has said. He had a seizure hours after he was beaten, and he died two days later from bleeding on his brain.

Second-degree murder charges against two of the officers were dropped in the case. In August 2022, a Hinds County jury convicted former detective Anthony Fox of culpable negligence manslaughter — and then in January of this year, the Mississippi Court of Appeals overturned Fox’s conviction. A majority of the appeals court wrote that prosecutors failed to prove Fox “acted in a grossly negligent manner” or that Robinson’s death “was reasonably foreseeable under the circumstances.”

Wade is the mother of Dexter Wade, who was run over by an off-duty Jackson Police Department officer in March 2023.

Dexter Wade was buried at the Hinds County Pauper’s Cemetery, but it was October before his mother was told about the burial.

His body was exhumed Nov. 13, and an independent autopsy was conducted. A wallet found in the pocket of his jeans contained his state identification card with his home address, credit card and a health insurance card, said civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Wade’s family.

On Nov. 20, Dexter Wade’s family held a funeral for him, and he was buried in another cemetery.

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